James P. Tam is the founding dean of School of Biological Sciences and directors of Biosciences Research Centre and Drug Discovery Centre of Nanyang Technological University.
He received his B.S. and Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and postdoctoral training under the late Dr. Bruce Merrifield at The Rockefeller University. In 1982, he became associate professor at Rockefeller and focused his research on peptide and protein chemistry pertaining to biological problems that include growth factors and cytokines, vaccines and enzymes. In 1992-2004, he was a full professor in the department of Microbiology and Immunology and professor of Biochemistry at the Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. He has been active in research for the past 30 years and continued to maintain part of his research program in the United States. In 2005, he continued his research work as a Professor in The Scripps Research Institute, Biomedical Sciences, Florida to head the HIV Therapeutics and vaccines Program.
His research interests:
- Peptide and protein chemistry; abiotic protein synthesis, peptide chips for proteomics.
- Design and engineering of peptides, proteins, protein mimetics, and biopolymers with unusual architectures for bioactive molecules, antimicrobial peptides, growth factors, cytokines, vaccines, enzymes and synthetic antibody.
- Intracellular delivery of small peptides as inhibitors of signal transduction.
He has published more than 294 papers. He received the Vincent du Vigneaud Award in 1986 and the Rao Makineni Award in 2003 for his outstanding contribution in Peptide Sciences by American Peptide Society, USA. He received the highly prestigious 2005 Ralph F. Hirschmann Award for his outstanding contributions to peptide and protein chemistry. The award, administered by the American Chemical Society recognises the highest achievements in the chemistry, biochemistry and biophysics of peptides at an international level.
In addition to his scientific research, he has also been active in the peptide community. Besides serving on many editorial boards and serving as associate editor of J. Peptide Research, he organizes international peptide and protein Symposia and was co-founder of the past eight International Chinese Peptide Symposium.
He received the Cathay Award from the Chinese Peptide Society, China in 1996. He was also honored as Honorary Professor by Peking University and Peking Union Medical College.